A Last Minute Chocolate Cake

I was in the middle of making the Sunshine Dream Bars this morning when Fuzz requested that I make her a “blank” chocolate cake to decorate. Given the nasty weather and the fact that we had some icing and sprinkles on hand, I said yes. All we needed a quick chocolate cake canvas.  Crazy Cake to the rescue.

Crazy Cake is the perfect type cake when you’re looking for an easy chocolate cake or one that doesn’t call for eggs and butter. Today’s recipe was baked in two 9 inch round pans so that Fuzz and her friend could each decorate a layer. I’ve made this cake before, but it’s been a while. Today I made it with cake flour and think I prefer the cake flour version over the all purpose.

Fuzz’s friend had a good time decorating, but Fuzz’s perfectionist tendencies got the best of her.  After some frustration and tears, we put her layer in the freezer to save for another day. We decided that in the very near future, we are going to buy a big box of pre-colored fondant and experiment with that. I bought Fuzz a Playdough Fun Factory yesterday and am wondering if we can use it as a fondant extruder.

Chocolate Crazy Cake

3 cups cake flour (340 grams)
2 cups granulated sugar (398 oz)
2 teaspoons baking soda (10 ml)
1 teaspoon salt (5 ml)
1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (51 grams)
3/4 cup vegetable oil (180 ml)
1 teaspoon vanilla (5 ml)
2 tablespoons vinegar (30 ml)
2 cups warm water or brewed coffee (I used water since the cake was for kids) (480 ml)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Spray two 9×2-inch round cake pans with flour-added cooking spray. Flour-added Pam worked perfectly even for this rather sticky cake.

In a large mixing bowl, six the dry ingredients thoroughly. Add liquid ingredients Mix until uniform, then beat with an electric mixer for about a minute.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. Let cool, flip from pans, then decorate or freeze for future rainy days.

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  1. Sue says

    Poor Fuzz! I can relate to what you’re both going through because one of my two was that way too. He was actually a little more sly in that he wouldn’t even try to do things in front of other people until he knew he could do it perfectly. It drove his teachers crazy, but he’s a nearly 4.0 student at a prep school, and a national merit semi-finalist, so for whatever reason, it works for him! His sister on the other hand is a go all out for it kind of girl! She’s also very bright on a full ride scholarship in college. So, hang in there! Those perfectionist tendencies will work for her as long as she doesn’t let it get the best of her.
    BTW, I think the Play Doh fun factory is a great idea! Even if it doesn’t work, you’ll have a blast trying!

  2. AF says

    Just came upon your site today from Snack Lounge (via HeatEatReview), and I must warn you about the pre-packaged fondant. I’ve heard many not so good things about it. Try this recipe http://whatscookingamerica.net/PegW/Fondant.htm for Marshmallow Fondant. It’s messy, but at least it’s tasty. Or you could buy pre-made Satin Ice fondant, if you don’t want to make the MMF. I’ve only tried MMF, but hear good things about Satin Ice.

    And, the Fun Factory can be a fondant extruder, but only if it hasn’t actually touched Play Doh.

  3. Mary says

    I think a children’s Play dough fun factory cake is a great idea. Sometimes the concepts we envision don’t always work out. It happens to all of us. It is OK Fuzz. Keep trying. Your coloring is beautiful. Mary

  4. says

    Sue, thanks for the encouragement. Your children sound like amazing kids (young adults ;)).

    Laura, Michelle, AF and Mary. Naturally, I plan on sharing the Play Doh Fun Factory Fondant experience. AF, I once made fondant using glucose syrup, powdered sugar and some other stuff (forgot). It tasted great but the whole process was kind of messy. I think I might start with the pre-made and if all goes well and we have fun with it, move on to the better tasting fondant. Thanks for the Satin Ice recommendation.

    Mary, I will tell Fuzz you said her coloring is beautiful.

  5. Kathy says

    I’d be worried that the plastic for the Play Doh Fun Factory is not the kind that is meant to come in contact with food. I would not want anything harmful to leach from the plastic, into the food. I’d worry less about ingesting the Play Doh! 🙂

    Love your site, btw. I’ve never written before, but I peek in everyday! 🙂

    Thank you for blogging!!!

  6. says

    Hmmmm. I’ve read about how certain plastics leach toxic chemicals into food — especially when heated, but I don’t think just running some fondant through a plastic toy would be any worse than running it through plastic decorating tubes or serving it from a plastic plate or mixing it in a plastic bowl or pressing it in a colored plastic mold. But it’s colored plastic so maybe there’s lead in whatever they used to paint it? I don’t know. Good point. Or maybe those things are all food grade. Then again, you’d think anything touching Play Doh would have to have a certain level of safety given that little kids put Play Doh in their mouths. But given the state of things lately, you can’t be too careful.

  7. says

    I often make this cake, but my version calls for cold water (I wonder why). It’s also a one-pan no-equipment recipe: you just mix it up straight in the pan. The easiest way is to make a little well in the dry ingredients, pour in the oil, vinegar, and vanilla, and then pour the water over everything and mix it with a fork.

    A few years ago I came across a version that called for half a cup of chocolate chips (it would be a full cup for your two-layer 9-inch cake). The chips are just sprinkled over the cake before it’s popped in the oven, and they sink into the batter as it bakes. I find that the added chocolate really transforms this cake from so-so to something special.

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